30th Annual Mermaid Parade, Now With MakerBotted Trophies

Hi, my name is Fred Kahl, aka. the Great Fredini (Thingiverse user fredini). I work with Coney Island USA, a nonprofit arts center based in Brooklyn’s famous Amusement District. We preserve uniquely American art forms like the sideshow and burlesque, and run the Coney Island Museum. One of our biggest and oldest programs is the Mermaid Parade, one of the largest art parades in the world, which will happen tomorrow- Saturday, June 23rd!

For the past 30 years, thousands of people have dressed up to help usher in the beach’s summer season. However, with permits and insurance the parade is very costly to put on. Often times we can barely pay our bills, so we never have a lot of money to spend on trophies for the best marchers. Last year we got a complaints that they looked like generic salesman of the year awards, so for our 30th parade we knew we had to do something special. Enter MakerBot, who really came through with helping to make this year’s awards exceed our wildest fantasies!

The parade has eleven unique awards:
Mayor’s Choice
Judge’s Choice
Best Sea Creature
Best Mermaid
Best Neptune
Best Push-Pull Float
Best Music Group
Best Motorized Float
Best Marching Group
Best Little Neptune
Best Little Mermaid

When I first met with MakerBot’s Creative Director Keith Ozar and Social Media Marketing Manager Sasha Litvinov, we came up with the concept that each trophy would consist of the extruded Mermaid Parade logo, decorated with some award specific embellishments sourced from MakerBot’s file sharing community Thingiverse.com. We love Thingiverse and are so thankful to all the creators out there who have shared their models! You have all helped our 30th anniversary parade to be celebrated in style!

You can see all of our final trophies here. To commemorate the occasion, I’ve curated a special list of our favorite Mermaid Parade themed things on Thingiverse…enjoy!

Top Thingiverse Things to bring to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Starfish by Sconine
Sconine is a maker who’s really an inspiration for parents out there. His use of 3D printing is all about engaging with his kids in new and exciting ways. The starfish is a great staple for any mermaid themed costume, and my big discovery was how the heat gun can be used to bend them to wrap around objects just like a real starfish would!


Ahab’s Last Stand(Old Sea Salt) by BrianStamile
We chose Ahab for the Judge’s choice award. This thing is also a great example of how the community is starting to scan all sorts of things- from thrift store junk to art in the MET.



Scale Armor by Krest
This is going to be the main building block for my next year’s parade costume! Can’t you imagine a mermaid tail or cape cade out of these?




Burgonet by PrettySmallThings
This helmet arrived on Thingiverse too late to be printed out for this year’s parade, but hopefully I’ll be wearing one next year along with my fish scale armor suit!




8 Bit Mermaid by fredini
I liked this version better than my original Mermaid Scan, but both are cute adaptations of the traditional cast iron doorstop mermaid.



Sand Dollar by Catzpaw164
This became the basis for our second and third place award medals- a sort of sea themed olympic medal made of the sand dollar with an octopus on top.



Bucket O’ Octopi by yeoldbrian
If ever there was a Thingiverse mascot this is it! Combined with the sand dollar, along with a little heat gun love to make him conform to the sand dollar surface, this is one of my favorite things ever! The way its been derived so many times is a great testament to the power of sharing that happens on Thingiverse. The Octopi over the parade logo for the Best Sea Creature award is truly magical!

Luna Park Towers by Fredini
Realizing these two models as prints has been a personal dream come true! For over 20 years I have wanted to create a scale model of Coney Island’s famed turn of the century fantasy architecture. When I first became aware of MakerBot, I knew that the project’s time had finally come. Last fall I created these two models, but to my knowledge they had yet to be printed. A special shout out to Jason Batukis from the MakerBot design team who helped these models to be realized prints. I promise that in the next week I’ll update the files on Thingiverse with the new, more print ready ones.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you all at the Mermaid Parade tomorrow!